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Reading Times

I'm impressed by how many books some of you read.

I'm not very disciplined about that, and I would love to read more.

What tips and advices would you give me.

I purchase a stack of books from Amazon 2 months ago I have not opened one yet :-(

I've got a hard time switching the TV and the Internet off and grab my chair for some reading.

A Procrastinator Patient

Unorganized Twat
Saturday, November 29, 2003

If you're having a hard time comitting to something, schedule it in your day planner/PIM/etc.  Set aside time every day for it and do it every day.  Reading to learn new skills and new methodologies is important to a continuing development of your skills, so set time aside and make a firm commitment to it.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

1 hour on the train to work, 1 hour on the train home from work = approx 500 hours (2 hours * 250 days) of reading a year.

2 hours bike riding 2-3 times a week 6+ months a year = approx 130 hours of listening to books on tape.

In the past 10 years since I graduated High School, I've probably had the equivelant of 3 or 4 university degrees.

If you drive, consider books on tape/cd/mp3. I don't think Peopleware or Learn C++ in a day and a half comes on tape, but there are thousands of book that do.
Saturday, November 29, 2003

Oh, and don't buy a stack of books, just buy 1 or 2 books at a time. Whenever I buy more than a book at a time, especially if they're on the same topic, after I finish the first one my interests have probably changed and I'm not interested in the other book I got. Or if I bought more than two, and start reading one, there's probably a reason I didn't chose the other(s) to read first - I might not have been that interested to begin with.
Saturday, November 29, 2003

"In the past 10 years since I graduated High School, I've probably had the equivelant of 3 or 4 university degrees."

I have the same problem.  A bunch of books half-started and then I have to reread them because I have forgotten what I initially read.  I once bought a book on procrastination, but I never got around to reading it because I kept putting it off :)

Is your book purchasing/reading organized around a certain topic(s), i.e Software Engineering, Politics, Philosophy etc,  or do you read books at random in whatever interests you have at the moment?  Do you read several books on a subject to develop a thorough understanding of a particular subject or do buy one or two books and 'dabble' in various subject matter? 

Saturday, November 29, 2003

I tend to read in circles, so to speak. One topic will interest me for a while, and then another, and then another, and then I'll find someone with something new to say on the first topic.

More to the point, it's not a topic that interests me, but a writer or book that really has something to say that's new to me.

How do you choose what CD's you're going to buy? Sure you might go into the store and say "I want to buy a dance album, let me sample tracks from some dance CD's," but you're more likely to find something somewhere - at a friend's house, on the radio, on tv, by recommendation - that just strikes a chord (no pun intended) with you.
Saturday, November 29, 2003

Before the Internet came round I would spend four or five hours a day reading. If I ran out of newspapers I would read the telephone directory.

Don't confuse technical books with "recreational" reading. Apart from anything else the speed you will read at is vastly different. The "learn in 24 hours" mean just that - 24 hours, which would be anything from four days to a fortnight, depending on how many hours a day.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, November 30, 2003


Any suggestions of good sites to find books to read?

I've always thought it would be great to have a self-maintaining website where books are listed by category and people can vote on books.

(I know amazon SORT OF has this, but not by category).

It took me YEARS to find some good general books on programming (Code Complete, etc.)

The best .1% of books are 10x better than the average college professor.  (The top 1% of professors are even better :-)

Sunday, November 30, 2003

BTW, I keep a good book in every bathroom in the house. One of those 3 BRs is my office bathroom. :-)

Sunday, November 30, 2003

I eat lots of veggies and I don't spend that much time in the bathroom....
Sunday, November 30, 2003

Two things to do: Find time to read in the first place, and read effectively with the time you have.

First, find someplace where you can get away from the Internet and the TV, like a local cafe (assuming the noise doesn't bother you, and you don't bring your notebook and WiFi connection to distract you). Or read over lunch, or first thing in the morning, or last thing before you go to bed. Find a quiet bench in a nearby park. On airplanes and trains. Whatever... experiment and figure out what works for you.

Second, make sure that when you read, you're really focused. I find that reading with a pencil in hand, making notes in the margins and on the blank pages at the front of the book, etc., really helps me concentrate and avoid speeding up to a point where I'm not really paying attention. Or take notes on your notebook as you go along, if you can resist the temptation to Web surf instead.

Read actively. Imagine that after you're done with each chapter, or the entire book, you're going to tell a friend what you learned, or write a review of the book on Amazon.

But basically, reading is like physical exercise -- you have to convince yourself this is something worth doing and then Just Do It (sorry Nike).

John C.
Sunday, November 30, 2003

... and the more you do it the better you get, and the more enjoyable it is.
Sunday, November 30, 2003

"But basically, reading is like physical exercise -- you have to convince yourself this is something worth doing and then Just Do It (sorry Nike)."

I guess my problem is not that reading isn't important, but the consistency/discipline to finish books.  I guess I would agree that I need to develop my reading 'discipline' muscle.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

I have a technique I kludged together from military training techniques (that I read about) and AA.

The idea is very simple: one day at a time.

Sometimes tackling a really big book can seem quite daunting; how on Earth am I *ever* going to get through all that?

So instead, resolve only to complete chapter 1. That's all. You're not comitting yourself to any more than that. Learn it thoroughly, and don't leave it 'til you're *sure* you understand it.

Once that's done, move on to the next chapter and resolve to tackle that one to completion.

Sometimes you won't complete the book in one contiguous lump. You're tastes will have moved on to something else. But I find that because I haven't pressurised myself to doing the entire thing, I haven't rushed the individual chapters. So what I *have* learned has really sunk in, and it's a lot easier to pick up where I left off when I eventually do get the "itch" to study it again.

Pat Galea
Sunday, November 30, 2003

s/You're tastes/Your tastes/

Obviously I'm suffering from Excessive Apostrophe Syndrome. I do apologise.

Pat Galea
Sunday, November 30, 2003

I used to read a book within a book within a book... A large complex book, then in the middle pick up something else, and in the middle of that pick up something else. Then go back to the second book - surprisingly refreshed, and the back to the first book, and the material that seemed dull after 500 pages also seems surprisingly fresh again.

I don't really read enough to have those kinds of quirks now though.
Sunday, November 30, 2003

re "Any suggestions of good sites to find books to read?":

I find a good place to start for computing related books.


Tim Sharrock
Sunday, November 30, 2003

"I find a good place to start for computing related books."

I second this. I especially look for books reviewed by Francis Glasborow. He's reviewed over 950 books and is pretty good at picking the worthwhile ones. (Plus he is always helpful and friendly to people on the comp.lang.c Google group.)

Monday, December 1, 2003

[I've got a hard time switching the TV and the Internet off and grab my chair for some reading.]

Sell the TV.

Believe me, you won't miss it.

Monday, December 1, 2003

Reading while you commute is the best.

Old job + Old flat = 45min commute each way. Lots of reading.

New job + New flat = 10min commute each way. No reading.

Monday, December 1, 2003

"s/You're tastes/Your tastes/"

Funnily enough a book on grammar has just topped Amazon UK's bestseller's list. See:

Nobby Good Guy
Monday, December 1, 2003

Long plane flights.

Fly from SF to Manchester, UK. Read "The Two Towers" (plus jetlag time in hotel at 3am)

Fly back, read "Return of the King"

(Skipping all the singing parts)

Monday, December 1, 2003

Yes, I do a lot of reading on my 1 hour each way commute.

In the middle of winter, however, when it gets dark by 5pm, and I look out the window knowing I didn't see the sun at all today, except maybe briefly during lunch, I'd get a little depressed. Even though my trip home isn't any more enjoyable later, I'd procrastinate going home.

That hour train ride was great for reading, but could also be long and boring. Especially if my book was long and boring. If I was reading a good book, then I'd look foward to my commute and I'd want to leave earlier so I can start reading it.

Lesson: pick really entertaining books in the winter.
Monday, December 1, 2003

Get your books from the library. Then,
- you've got a tremendous selection
- you don't feel pressure to limit what books you pick because they might be too expensive (if a book sucks, then return it)
- you've got time pressure to read them, since they have to go back after a fixed time, so you wind up reading more

Exception guy
Monday, December 1, 2003

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